• Bernadette Andreosso-O’Callaghan University of Limerick
  • Serge Rey Professor, University of Pau, Cedex
  • Jacques Jaussaud University of Pau


Since its “New Asia Strategy” formulated in 1994 (EC, 1994), the European Commission has been eager to resurrect and then to refine its economic relationship with Asia and in particular with East-Asia, by upgrading the relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with China for example, and by focusing overall on greater “connectivity” between the two regions (see for example EC, 2018). According to the 1994 seminal document, the restoration of a strong relationship between the two regions would have enabled the EU to maintain its “leading role in the world economy”, to “ensure that [the EU] interests [were] taken fully into account in this key region” and, through an active participation of EU firms in Asia, the relationship would have provided “qualified jobs for European workers” (EC, 1994: 3). In one of the most recent EU Commission official documents where the relationship is now referred to as being one of “connectivity” between the two regions, particularly in the aftermath of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it is stated that an enhanced relationship between the two regions “contribute to economic growth and jobs, global competitiveness and trade” EC (2018: 1).


EC (1994) Towards a New Asia Strategy, Communication from the Commission to the Council (COM/94/314 FINAL, Brussels).

EC (2018) “Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocs for an EU Strategy”, Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank (JOIN 2018, Final, Brussels).

EC (2020) European Economic Forecast, Institutional Paper 121, European Commission (Economic and Financial Affairs), February, Brussels.

World Bank (2020) Global Economic Challenges – Slow Growth, Policy Challenges, World Bank Group, January, Washington.